CommBank shares AI model to combat technology-facilitated abuse

This as one in four Aussies have experienced financial abuse

CommBank shares AI model to combat technology-facilitated abuse


By Mina Martin

Commonwealth Bank is making its artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies accessible for free to banks around the world, in a bid to tackle technology-facilitated abuse on a global scale.

CommBank’s AI model is designed to detect digital payment transactions containing harassing, threatening, or offensive messages, which are referred to as technology-facilitated abuse.

Angela MacMillan (pictured above), CBA group customer advocate, said financial abuse, which involves the use of money to control a partner, is a powerful means of trapping someone in an abusive relationship.

“Sadly, we see that perpetrators use all kinds of ways to circumvent existing measures such as using the messaging field to send offensive or threatening messages when making a digital transaction,” MacMillan said in a media release.  

“We developed this technology because we noticed that some customers were using transaction descriptions as a way to harass or threaten others.”

She said that with the help of the model, the bank can scan transactional behaviour for any irregularities, flagging patterns and instances that are considered high-risk, so it can conduct investigations and implement appropriate measures.

The model detects approximately 1,500 high-risk cases each year.

“By sharing our source code and model with any bank in the world, it will help financial institutions have better visibility of technology-facilitated abuse,” MacMillan said. “This can help to inform action the bank may choose to take to help protect customers.”

The AI model and source code can be accessed via the bank’s partnership with on GitHub, the world’s largest source code hosting platform. The model was created by CommBank, and the source code developed in collaboration with the bank’s exclusive partner,

The AI model complements the automatic block filter introduced by CBA in 2020 across its digital channels that has so prevented nearly a million transactions containing threatening, harassing, or abusive language. CBA also partnered with the NSW Police in a recent pilot program to refer financial abuse cases to the authorities with customer consent.

This latest development from CommBank comes after the bank’s pilot program with the NSW Police earlier this year, where people engaged in financial abuse were referred to the police with the consent of the affected customers.

For financial assistance and support related to domestic or family violence, Australians are encouraged to reach out to the Next Chapter Team at 1800 222 387, irrespective of their bank. In case of domestic or family violence, please contact 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732 or visit If you are in an emergency or feel unsafe, dial 000 for emergency assistance.

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